Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Our Hope Foundation time machine now has a set of prompts for families. When I think back on how this came to be, it kind of makes me think of families, of how they grow, and develop their stories, of how they add to each other’s lives. Because the Hope Foundation is a bit like a family, we now have three sets of prompts for our Time Machine.
The Time Machine Game is a future-focussed exercise that stimulates the imagination with hopeful language. Players can have fun while brainstorming hopeful possibilities. Players spin a wheel that points to a certain time in the future—maybe next week, maybe 15 years from now, possibly a time in between. Then the player draws a prompt from a selection of questions. The task is to imagine yourself in the future time and respond as if the time had come. For example, if I were playing, I might be imagining myself as I would be in the year 2021 and responding to the prompt: I am doing something I never thought I would be able to do. This is what I am doing.
The idea for the game came to me one evening in 2001. I was making a salad for dinner, playfully spinning the salad spinner, and wondering what activity would make a pleasant and hopeful ending to send people on their way at the close of a 5-day hope retreat. By the time the meal was over and the dishes were washed, my salad spinner had begun its transformation. A few labels on its spinning lid, thirty hope-focussed prompts tucked inside its bowl,, and you’d never really believe it had once been a humble kitchen gadget. The refinement of this game has been, and continues to be an on-going Hope Foundation project. We started with one idea and each addition makes it useful in a new way.
The initial group of questions were so general that they could be answered by just about anybody. We tinkered with them if we noticed that the language of any particular questions was confusing and we used time machine for many different audiences. The first significant modification was made in 2010 for use in the final session of our hope and strengths groups for people with chronic pain. Rachel Stege and I targeted the game more specifically by adding prompts relating to hopeful management of and adjustment to chronic pain. For example, I’m talking about pain in a more hopeful way today. This is what I’m saying…
The most recent innovation took shape when some University of Alberta students in counselling psychology got the idea of using the Time Machine as a catalyst for intergenerational discussion in a family. To make this work, Gabriela Corabian developed additional prompts to help families envision hopeful futures. Some of the new prompts are: A big event happened in my family; and I found a picture from my last family get together. This is what it shows.
Thank you, Gabriela, for adding this new resource to our Time Machine collection.

No comments: